May 23rd, 2008
10:01 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain rejects endorsement of a second controversial pastor

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. McCain is pictured in this file photo with Pastor John Hagee whose endorsement McCain also rejected Thursday."]
(CNN) - Hours after his rejection of Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement, John McCain rejected the backing of Pastor Rod Parsley, who said that Islam was a “conspiracy of spiritual evil.”

"I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America,” he told the Associated Press. “And I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn't endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I reject his endorsement."

The decision to cut off Parsley could have the bigger impact on the presidential race: in 2004, the Ohio pastor was a major figure in an unprecedented evangelical turnout operation that helped an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative pass overwhelmingly, and which was widely believed to have helped President Bush carry the critical swing state state – and the presidency - by a slimmer one.

The leader of the World Harvest Church in Columbus also founded the Center for Moral Clarity - an organization which has held that adultery should be treated as a crime – during the last presidential cycle.

Related: McCain officially rejects Hagee endorsement

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (550 Responses)
  1. R.T.

    David, O. That post summarizes the narrow mindedness that has allowed the far left of the Democratic party to screw things up in the last two presidential elections. 2000, 2004 and ere we go again in 2008.

    Moderates need to take back the Democratic party and wrest it from the rich elitist ultra liberals in New York and California who hold the puppet strings of this party before they single handedly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again.

    May 23, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. Jeanne

    Good golly, just how blinded are the Obamabots? There is a real difference between attending a church for 20 years with a pastor who preaches hate and being "endorsed" by one. Duh.

    You know what? Obama is Peter Pan in a stage musical production. No, really! He goes out and oh-so-enthusiastically gets the audience going by telling them if only they'd just clap their hands and *believe* – then everything will be all right! And it scares me how many people are buying into it! America is not a poisoned fairy and it won't recover from all its woes just because we all start swaying to the beat and chanting that we believe in change. We need a leader who can do so much more than deliver prepared speeches well, and Obama has done exactly nothing to show he's the one who can be the right man for the job, and a heckuva lot to prove he isn't.

    Obama 08 – The Sheeple's Choice!

    May 23, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. tjpdx

    McCain has pastor problems too... Is any of this surprising??? Religions are built on division, hate and violence. The world would be much better off without organized religions.

    May 23, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. Mike, Land O Lakes, FL

    He is running from who he is. Let's see he chases lobbisyt skirts, 100 more years in Iraq and tax cut for the wealthy. McBush has the worst qualities of the past two presidents we cand do without.

    May 23, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. kay, NM

    Derek, you are so naive to understand the difference. Give it up.

    May 23, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. Steve

    To Andy J New York,
    Get your head out of your butt and try to use the brain that God gave you. Right wing nut case.

    May 23, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. kamenwati

    There is no comparision between Reverend Wright and the Republican Pastorate of hatemongers, racists, and demogogues, who have dominated the party and its political agenda over the last eight years or more.

    May 23, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Kenneth Texas

    What is it with politicians and pastors; they seem to be trying so hard for the Christian right vote that they will just about take any pastor's endorsement. Then these guys are not what they seem and they have to run from them. It is a shame they don't run from the lobbyst with the same zeal but money talks louder than faith I suppose. At least this guy was white so that should equal out the race thing.
    Amen brother.

    May 23, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Michael in CA

    For people who think this is McCain's Pastor Wright think again. McCain did not attend this church for 20 years to hear the things he has said. Also, this man was not his spiritual adviser nor did he marry McCain or have a major influence on his life. Ahh, Obama supporters spin this any which way you like..

    I am a Hillary supporter voting for her in Nov. whether or no she is on the ballott!

    May 23, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. victor

    McCain wants to be the president of tommorrow , how sure are we that you will not die in office?? Your health does not not look good so far, is questionable. Just remember Americans dont want to waste their vote to get your VP as President. You Attack on Obama on wanting unconditionally meet with our enemies, Imagine you went to you doctor , what does he do first before he treats you ? He first conducts a diagnosis of what may be the problems and that is what Obama is willing to do with our enemies. So McCain if you willing to treat your Flu taking Tums you welcomed to do so . We need change for tommorrow.

    May 23, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. JC

    Hello David O:

    We are all Americans. I love Republicans as much as I love Democrats.
    Our country would look much larger and brighter when you can divide her into more than just two groups as much as combine all into one group called Americans.

    Give it a try! You will probably feel a lot better if you become Independent.
    My best wishes!

    May 23, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Laura, Atlanta GA

    I'm breathlessly waiting for Rush Limbaugh to endorse McCain – I understand Uncle Ditto and Cindy McCain share their love of prescription drugs! Just waiting for that Viagra endorsement cause you know that old guys need love, too.

    Have no fear, fear-mongers! John McCain will still lose this election even with the quivering-rapture-eyed support of the Hagee holy-rollers. Now why don't you go and do something useful, like removing those enormous motes from thine eyes.....OR JOIN THE ARMY! I hear its real safe in Iraq now ya'll.

    May 23, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. You fickle folks

    "All the Way to Denver" – Oh please

    May 23, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. MD for Obama


    I really don't understand those idiots who want more of Bush through McCain, higher gas & food prices, a prolonged war etc.

    For all of you still talking Obama and McCain's pastors, some of your rhetoric is just as disgusting as their pastors.

    May 23, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. Jane, College Park, Maryland

    Amazing really, how the media is so under the firm grip of the Republican party. If only half the country would open their eyes and say no more to this robotic manipulation.

    May 23, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Victor, NJ

    I am amazed how ignorant and uneducated people are nowadays. Islam is a religion practiced by all sort of people and does not teach killing people. Its the people that kill in the name of islam that need to be condemned not the religion. Why are these GOP idiots emphasizing Obama's middle name. Another scare tactic to retain the white house. WAKE UP AMERICA>

    May 23, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. Monica

    McCain's problem is that at the same time that he rejects them he is criticizing Barack for going to Wright's church.

    The mistake in doing that is he is now criticizing the constituents of Hagee and Parsley. They have sat in that church for many years listening to this talk, they married them and baptized their children. Why do some of you not see the nonscence in this.

    He is turning the actions of preachers into a political game to use against Obama when he is surrounded by supporters who are equal to Wright and Obama. That is the problem and the contridiction to his rejection. Do you really think that he should be saying to all of Hagee and Parsley's constituents that there is something wrong with them because they went to church but please vote for me. The answer should have been hateful statements like these have no place in church and I hope that anyone preaching hate in church should reconcider their message.

    May 23, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Jackson

    McCain did not sit in any of these pastors churches for 20+ years!

    May 23, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. danno

    Pastor Rod Parsley,is not John McCain but just another crazy.

    May 23, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Darth Vadik, CA

    Hillary will be the VP, I'm sure of it now, so everybody just relax.
    McCain is done.

    May 23, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. Michael straight talk

    This is another case of poor judgement, where Sen. McCain thought like he did with Iraq war that it would be a "Slam Dunk", seeking the endorsement of those Pastors for about 365 days and finally got it. Now that the truth caught up with him, he is saying that he never stayed in their church for 20 years. Good try! How about the 113 lobbyists? Talk about "change agent", that wants to fool the voters! The other day you and you friend Sen. Leiberman were busy trying to fool the Jewish community and Israel with your pandering and smearing stuff with Hamas, now they see it clearly what you both are worth. Mear Opportunist!

    May 23, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. Jana Delray Bch, Fl

    I Cannot believe the NY governor, who is blind, black and an Obama
    supporter has the nerve to say Hillary Clinton is desperate.

    He should have been thrown out when he sais he was a drug
    user and had committed adultry.

    What a joke.

    May 23, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. Baby Barack?

    Any chance for an Obama baby in the White House? That would be wonderful after so many years.

    Obama 08

    May 23, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. isaac

    All I know is this better be on the news for a long time because he sought after these guys endorsements. He sold his soul to be the nominee knowing theses guys are very controversal

    May 23, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. Larry of Boston

    There is zero comparison between McCain's situation and the Reverend Wright – apples and oranges -and Wright is the bad apple.

    May 23, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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